Tuesday, December 18, 2018



Our smartphones seem to wield their influence even when we’re not using them. The mere presence of a smartphone seemed to reduce the quality of conversations in one study.


Another study found a link between having a smartphone within sight, even if turned off, with lower scores on tests of short-term memory and problem solving.

“The effect is biggest for people who rely on their phones the most,” said Adrian Ward, an expert in technology and cognition at the University of Texas at Austin, and the author of that last study. “The more you give it control over different things — social connections, news, work, etc. — the more you are going to be attracted to this device.”


Simply trying to resist that automatic attraction, he explained, takes up cognitive resources.

Even basic human decency may be sacrificed.

Research suggests that smartphones can inhibit people from offering help to strangers on the street, reduce how much we smile at unfamiliar faces in a waiting room and even lessen our trust of strangers, neighbors and people of other religions or nationalities.

“People don’t talk about or realize that we actually get quite a lot from casual social interactions,” said Kostadin Kushlev, a social psychologist at the University of Georgetown University and an author of several smartphone studies.

“Even when phones are at their most useful — such as when we’re bored to death in the waiting room — there might be other things we’re missing out on.”

Perhaps not surprisingly, researchers have also begun to link weakened social skills, including the inability to read emotions or initiate casual conversations, to smartphone use.

“It takes time and practice to develop those skills,” said Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University. 

She studies generational differences and is currently focused on the post-millennial generation, or people born in 1995 or later.

The iGen, as she calls them, is the first generation to spend its entire adolescence with smart phones.


With the average age for a child to get their first phone now just 10, young people are becoming more and more reliant on their smartphones.

Worrying research from Korea University suggests that this dependence on the technology could even be affecting some teens’ brains.

The findings reveals that teenagers who are addicted to their smartphones are more likely to suffer from mental disorders, including depression and anxiety.

Other studies have shown people are so dependent on their smartphone that they happily break social etiquette to use them.

Researchers from mobile connectivity firm iPass surveyed more than 1,700 people in the US and Europe about their connectivity habits, preferences and expectations.

The survey revealed some of the most inappropriate situations in which people have felt the need to check their phone – during sex (seven per cent), on the toilet (72 per cent) and even during a funeral (11 per cent).

Nearly two thirds of people said they felt anxious when not connected to the Wi-Fi, with many saying they’d give up a range of items and activities in exchange for a connection.

Sixty-one per cent of respondents said that Wi-Fi was impossible to give up – more than for sex (58 per cent), junk food (42 per cent), smoking (41 per cent), alcohol (33 per cent), or drugs (31 per cent).

A quarter of respondents even went so far as to say that they’d choose Wi-Fi over a bath or shower, and 19 per cent said they’d choose Wi-Fi over human contact.

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